By Joseph Onyekwere
Hearing on the suit filed by two brothers in Enugu State against the Council chairman of Igbo-Eze North and three others over alleged trespass to their parcel of land in Ogrute, Enugu-Ezike of the Local Government Area (LGA) has been adjourned to January 13, 2022.
The matter was adjourned at the instance of the defendants.
At resumption, the court will hear plaintiffs’ application for interim injunction
restraining defendants from carrying on works on the land until the determination of the suit.
The plaintiffs, Mr. Damian Uja and Oliver Uja, sued for themselves and on behalf of the estate of their late father, Mr. George Uja.
Beside the council and its chairman, other defendants in the suit marked EZ/20/2021 are deputy vice chairman, head of personnel management of the local government and attorney general of the state.
At the last sitting, C.E Ezeh represented the plaintiffs, while Mr. Akor stood for the defendants.
According to the writ of summons filed by the chambers of the SRJ Legal on behalf of the plaintiffs, the plaintiffs are praying for a declaration jointly and severally against the defendants that the parcel of land approximately measuring 1,312.000s.q.m, lying behind New Eke Ozzi market, Ogrute, with survey plan no. ESS/EN307/2020 belongs to the estate of the late George Uja by virtue of inheritance, acts of long possession, partitioning and deemed customary right of occupancy.
The plaintiffs are also praying the court to declare that the 1st defendant (LGA), through 2nd (the chairman) to 4th defendants jointly and severally trespassed on the said parcel of land.
They also asked for a declaration that the defendants’ forceful entry and consequent damage to their improvements on the parcel of land occasioned undue hardship and economic losses to them.
The plaintiffs, in addition, prayed for an order directing and compelling the defendants to immediately vacate and yield to the plaintiffs valid, free, vacant and unencumbered possession of the parcel of land, together with any improvements made on it.
“An order of perpetual injunction, restraining the defendants jointly and severally either alone or through any of its officers, organs, employees, contractors, agents, privies, substitutes, legal assigns howsoever describable, from interfering with, disturbing, challenging, forcefully entering, constructing, selling, letting…exercising acts of ownership or possession that affects, relates or is likely to affect or relate to claimants’ quiet enjoyment and peaceable possession of the parcel of land approximately measuring 1,312.000s.q.m situate, being along and lying behind New Eke Ozzi market, Ogrute, Enugu-Ezike, Igbo-Eze North local government area, Enugu State with survey plan number ESS/EN307/2020, that belongs to the estate of George Uja by virtue of inheritance, acts of long possession, partitioning and deemed customary right of occupancy.
“An order, directing and compelling the defendants jointly or severally to pay to the claimants, general damages at the sum of N10 million.
“An order, directing the defendants jointly or severally to pay to the claimants, special damages at the sum of N4 million as claimants’ counsel’s professional fee for its services that include third party costs as cost of action,” the plaintiffs prayed.
In addition, the plaintiffs prayed for an order, directing and compelling the defendants to pay interest of 21 per cent on the judgment sums to them, from the date of judgment until the sums are fully liquidated, as well any other order that the court may deem fit to make in the circumstance of the case.
The application is supported with a 56 paragraph affidavit deposed to, by Ambrose Eke on behalf of the plaintiffs.
“Following the defendants’ negligent trespass on, forceful entry upon and consequent destruction of the bricked-fence and economic plants and trees on the Property in about January, 2021, the applicants engaged SRJ through its Michael Dugeri to demand from the defendants to immediately restore to the claimants, actual possession of the Property and to vacate same.
“SRJ vide a letter dated February 25, 2021 to 1st and 5th defendants repeated the demand stated in paragraph 39 above and further demanded that defendants compensate the applicants for their losses that resulted from 1st defendant’s wrongful and unauthorized actions and issued pre-action notices to 1st and 5th defendants,” he swore, adding that the defendants would not be prejudiced if the application is granted in the interest of justice.